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Groundwater levels in the East at their lowest for nearly 30 years

20 August 2019


Latest figures from Anglian Water revealed today show groundwater levels in some parts of the East of England are the lowest they’ve been in almost 30 years.


Although no usage restrictions are planned for this year, Anglian Water is urging customers to think carefully about their water usage for the rest of the summer and into the coming autumn, to prolong these supplies for as long as possible.


Despite some recent heavy downpours, north Norfolk saw only 50% of the average rainfall expected in July, compared to 136% in the west of the region.


Head of Water Resources for Anglian Water, Hannah Stanley-Jones said: “We operate in the driest region in the country, so conserving and managing our water resources and protecting against drought is what we do every day. What we’re seeing this year is an east/west split of rainfall in our region, and ultimately this has a knock-on effect for our groundwater supplies.


“Most of the storms and heavy rain we’ve seen in the last two months have fallen across Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. In fact, over the last year, the west of the region has seen over 120% of its average rainfall. However, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex have seen much less, and combined with the fact that aquifers take much longer to refill, this has left our groundwater sources lower than we’ve seen since 1991.”


Water supplies in the East of England rely on an equal split between river-fed reservoir sources, and groundwater. Although both rely on rainfall to replenish them, groundwater sources are much slower to refill and require long periods of wet weather to allow water to filter down, through layers of rock, into these underground, natural stores.


Typically, the best time of year for this to happen is during the winter when trees, plants, crops and other vegetation don’t need water to grow. Rainfall in the summer although useful, doesn’t have the same restorative effect on these underground supplies.


Hannah added “Our reservoir levels are still within normal levels across the region for this time of year, which is why we can be sure there won’t be any restrictions for our customers this summer. However, it’s important now, more than ever that we conserve supplies to make them last as long as possible. Our advice to customers is always to use water wisely, whatever the weather.”


Anglian Water’s top three ways to save water, and save money at the same time:

• Take a shorter shower

• Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth

• Make the most of the rainfall available – get a water butt


Visit for more water saving ideas.